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Year End Kickoff

Around nine I was coming out of a strange high kick fantasy when the sun had shone brilliantly through my windows. The gradation was a dazzling mix of gold and yellow, then finally bright yellow that permeated through the thin folds of my eyelids. And then as I was rolling over on my left side, trying to hold on to the last images of that wet dream, I heard a familiar faint cry of pleasure mixed with pain.  It had to be my Chinese neighbors, I said to myself.  For them it only takes 5 minutes to do the "do," so no sleep was lost on my part, I had a peaceful morning. Around noon I knew I would reward them back with some real rumpus after mom swung by.

Rolling back over on my back, I rubbed the smoothness of my paunch, thoughts of what to eat for breakfast shuffled through my mind. I was hungry and I wanted something heavy, but my bed was so comfortable I couldn't pull up.  Just five more minutes I thought to myself. Since I had a gig that morning I thought I could swing over by the local eatery to grab a grilled steak platter combo with chicken and rice. I did, and it was good, as usual. Come rain sleet or shine, the food in Japan is good all the time, I shake my head.

On a cultural note, I was pondering over my steak combo what to do for the holidays. I usual put off traveling until around Feb. when things calm down. 2011 is looking to be a local one for me, again. I'll focus on the cultural aspects this time, too. This year I will do "Oseibo" or year-end gift-giving. Japan has two major gift giving seasons, Oseibo and Ochugen( mid-summer gift giving). The last time I did an Oseibo was back in 2008. I was a member of an English/Japanese speaking circle in Tokyo for a short time. I gave out several bars of Ghana chocolate to everyone in the circle, which took everyone by surprise. They didn't expect I would know about such a custom. Maybe it was the type of gift I gave….( they were 105 yen per bar). According to the custom, the price tag determines the level of the relationship; most expensive would usually go to your boss.

In China there's a custom where you keep the price tag on the product you purchased as a gift. This shows the receiver how much he/she is liked by the giver. Of course in Western countries we remove the price tag as a manner. Well, I forgot to remove the tags on my candy bars. Nobody made a stink about it, just the usual Japanese smile and "arigato."

This Christmas I won't do anything special, but work. Work is always special. I love work. Billy called from Alaska asking whether the Japanese celebrate Xmas or not. I answered, "no!" "why?" he asked. "Japan was never founded on Christian principles and Western religious fundamentalism, that's why," I answered back. This is Asia!  But, I continued, Japan is no longer her former self, she is a prostitute for America.   Now, we can officially say, Christmas is a part of Japanese culture.   Now, we have Japanese Santas who dress up in the red costumes and run around with gifts.    This is Asia.  Now....Oh, boy!  What's next????   

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